Nypa fruticans

Nypa fruticans, commonly known as the nipa palm (or simply nipa) or mangrove palm,[4] is a species of palm native to the coastlines and estuarine habitats of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the only palm considered adapted to the mangrove biome. This species is the only member of the genus Nypa and the subfamily Nypoideae, forming monotypic taxa.[5]

Nipa palm
Temporal range: 70–0 Ma
Late Cretaceous - recent
Nipa palms
Nipa palms in Bohol, Philippines
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Nypoideae
Genus: Nypa
N. fruticans
Binomial name
Nypa fruticans
  • Cocos nypa Lour.
  • Nipa arborescens Wurmb ex H.Wendl.
  • Nipa fruticans (Wurmb) Thunb.
  • Nipa litoralis Blanco
  • Nypa fruticans var. neameana F.M.Bailey


XP Nepf D4092
The trunk or stem of the nipa palm is under the mud. Only the leaves project upwards
XP Nepf D4091
A globular flower cluster on a nipa palm
Nipa palms in mangrove swamp, Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan
The northernmost distribution of Nypa fruticans is seen on Iriomote Island, Japan
Chek Jawa 7, Aug 07
A globular fruit cluster of the nipa palm

The nipa palm's trunk grows beneath the ground and only the leaves and flower stalk grow upwards above the surface. Thus, it is an unusual palm tree, and the leaves can extend up to 9 m (30 ft) in height. The flowers are a globular inflorescence of female flowers at the tip with catkin-like red or yellow male flowers on the lower branches. The flower produces woody nuts arranged in a globular cluster up to 25 cm (10 in) across on a single stalk. The ripe nuts separate from the ball and are floated away on the tide, occasionally germinating while still water-borne.[6][7]


Nipa palms grow in soft mud and slow-moving tidal and river waters that bring in nutrients. The palm can be found as far inland as the tide can deposit the floating nuts. It is common on coasts and rivers flowing into the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from India to the Pacific Islands. The plant will survive occasional short-term drying of its environment. Despite the name "mangrove palm" and its prevalence in coastal areas, the nipa palm is only moderately salt tolerant and suffers if exposed to pure seawater, and instead prefers the brackish waters of estuaries.[8] It is considered native to China (Hainan region), the Ryukyu Islands, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, Java, Maluku, Malaya, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra, the Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Caroline Islands, Queensland, and the Australian Northern Territory. It is reportedly naturalized in Nigeria, the Society Islands of French Polynesia, the Mariana Islands, Panama, and Trinidad.[2]

Japan's Iriomote Island and its neighboring Uchibanari Island are the most northern limit of the distribution.[1][9]


Tagbanua hut
Nipa palm leaves used as thatching in a Tagbanwa stilt house (kamalig) in the Philippines

The long, feathery leaves of the nipa palm are used by local populations as roof material for thatched houses or dwellings. The leaves are also used in many types of basketry and thatching. Large stems are used to train swimmers in Burma as it has buoyancy.

On the islands of Roti and Savu, nipa palm sap is fed to pigs during the dry season. This is said to impart a sweet flavour to the meat. The young leaves are used to wrap tobacco for smoking.

Food and beverages

In the Philippines and Malaysia, the flower cluster (inflorescence) can be "tapped" to yield a sweet, edible sap collected to produce a local alcoholic beverage called tuba, bahal, or tuak. A fruit cluster is ready to be tapped when the unripe fruits are at their peak sweetness. The cluster is cut from the stalk about six inches down and mud is rubbed on the stalk to induce sap flow, sap begins flowing immediately if the fruit maturity was correctly gauged. A bamboo tube or a bottle is fitted over the cut stalk and the sap collected twice daily, cutting a half centimeter slice off the end of the stalk after each collection to prevent it from gumming over. Sap flow will continue for 30 days per stalk, and the nipa flowers continuously throughout the year providing a continuous supply of sap.[10]

Tuba can be stored in tapayan (balloon vases) for several weeks to make a kind of vinegar known as sukang paombong in the Philippines and cuka nipah in Malaysia. Tuba can also be distilled to make arrack, locally known as lambanog in Filipino and arak or arak nipah in Indonesian. Young shoots are also edible and the flower petals can be infused to make an aromatic tisane. Attap chee (Chinese: 亞答子; pinyin: yà dá zǐ) (chee meaning "seed" in several Chinese dialects) is a name for the immature fruits—sweet, translucent, gelatinous balls used as a dessert ingredient in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, that are a byproduct of the sap harvesting process.

In Indonesia, especially in Java and Bali, the sap can also be used to make a variant of Jaggery called gula nipah. Also in Sarawak, where it is called gula apong.


The nipa palm produces a very high yield of sugar-rich sap. Fermented into ethanol or butanol, the sap may allow the production of 6,480–20,000 liters per hectare per year of fuel.[11] By contrast sugarcane yields roughly 5200 liters of ethanol per hectare per year and an equivalent area planted in corn (maize) would produce only roughly 4000 liters per hectare per year, before accounting for the energy costs of the cultivation and alcohol extraction.[12] Unlike corn and sugarcane, nipa palm sap requires little if any fossil fuel energy to produce from an established grove, does not require arable land, and can make use of brackish water instead of freshwater resources. Also unlike most energy crops the nipa palm does not detract from food production to make fuel. In fact since nipa fruit is an inevitable byproduct of sap production[10] as a crop it produces both food and fuel simultaneously.

Fossil record

While only one species of Nypa now exists, N. fruticans, with a natural distribution extending from Northern Australia, through the Indonesian Archipelago, the Philippine Islands up to China, the genus Nypa once had a nearly global distribution in the Eocene (56-33.4 million years ago).[13]

Fossil mangrove palm pollen from India has been dated to 70 million years.[14]

Fossil fruits and seeds of Nypa have been described from the Maastrichtian and Danian sediments of the Dakhla Formation of Bir Abu Minqar, South Western Desert, Egypt.[15]

Fossilized nuts of Nypa dating to the Eocene occur in the sandbeds of Branksome, Dorset, and in London Clay on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England.[16]

A fossil species, N. australis, has been described from Early Eocene sediments at Macquarie Harbour on the western coast of Tasmania.[17]

Fossils of Nypa have also been recovered from throughout the New World, in North and South America, dating from at least the Maastrichtian period of the Cretaceous, through the Eocene making its last appearance in the fossil record of North and South America in the late Eocene.[18]

Assuming the habitat of extinct Nypa is similar to that of the extant species N. fruticans, the presence of Nypa fossils may indicate monsoonal or at least seasonal rainfall regimes, and is likely indicative of tropical climates.[17] The worldwide distribution of Nypa in the Eocene, especially in deposits from polar latitudes, is supporting evidence that the Eocene was a time of global warmth, prior to the formation of modern polar ice-caps at the end of the Eocene.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Nypa fruticans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T178800A7610085. 2008. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-2.RLTS.T178800A7610085.en. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Nypa fruticans". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  3. ^ "genus Nypa". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) [Online Database]. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Nypa fruticans". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ John Leslie Dowe (2010). Australian Palms: Biogeography, Ecology and Systematics. p. 83. ISBN 9780643096158. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  6. ^ Flora of China, v 23 p 143, Nypa fruticans
  7. ^ Wurmb, Friedrich von. 1779. Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen 1: 349, Nypa fruticans
  8. ^ Theerawitaya, Cattarin; et al. (October 2014). "Responses of Nipa palm (Nypa fruticans) seedlings, a mangrove species, to salt stress in pot culture". Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants. 209 (10): 597–603. doi:10.1016/j.flora.2014.08.004. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  9. ^ "船浦ニッパヤシ群落保護林の保護管理検討委員会報告書" [Funaura nipa palm habitat conservation and management committee report] (PDF). Kyushu Regional Forest Office. p. 6. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  10. ^ a b Eckhardt, Robyn (9 April 2008). "Tap Lessons". EatingAsia. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Fermentation of Nypa Palm to Form Ethanol". Biofuels Academy. 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  12. ^ Hofstrand, Don (April 2009). "Brazil's Ethanol Industry". Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  13. ^ Gee, Carole T. "The mangrove palm Nypa in the geologic past of the New World." Wetlands Ecology and Management 9.3 (2001): 181-203.
  14. ^ Singh R. S., 1999, Diversity of Nypa in the Indian subcontinent; Late Cretaceous to Recent. The Palaeobotanist 48(2):147-154.
  15. ^ Nypa fruits and seeds from the Maastrichtian–Danian sediments of Bir Abu Minqar, South Western Desert, Egypt by Maher I.El-Soughier, R.C.Mehrotra, Zhi-YanZhou and Gong-LeShi, Palaeoworld Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 75-83, Elsevier.
  16. ^ plant_material
  17. ^ a b Pole, Mike S., and Mike K. Macphail. "Eocene Nypa from Regatta Point, Tasmania." Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 92.1 (1996): 55-67
  18. ^ Gee, Carole T. "The mangrove palm Nypa in the geologic past of the New World." Wetlands Ecology and Management 9.3 (2001): 181-203
Abatan River

The Abatan River is a river in eastern Bohol, Philippines. The river winds through the towns of Catigbian, Antequera, Balilihan, and Maribojoc to its mouth at Cortes.The river is navigable for up to 19 kilometres (12 mi) for boats drawing 4 ft, and up to 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) for rafts. Its name comes from the word abad which means to meet or to converge.At its mouth, the river opens up to an estuary, which consists of a mixed mangrove and nipa swamp. It covers about 1,000 acres (400 ha) and has 32 mangrove species growing in its estuary; as a result, it is one of the Philippines' most diverse mangrove forests and is the third largest riverine mangrove forest in Bohol; despite the presence of endangered plant and animal species, there are no conservation or protection efforts.Historically prior to road construction, the river served as a waterway for the people going to and from the interior towns. Following the success of the Loboc River tours, there are river cruises from the Abatan River Visitor Center in Cortes to various communities upstream. Kayak exploration and stand-up paddle boarding are also available. The visitor center suffered severe damage from the 2013 Bohol earthquake.During World War II, a ship in the United States Navy was commissioned: USS Abatan (AW-4), a Pasig-class distilling ship, was named after the river.


Aglaodorum is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae. The only species that is a member of this genus is Aglaodorum griffithii.Aglaodorum is extremely similar to species in the genus Aglaonema. One main differences that distinguishes Aglaodorum from species in Aglaonema is that it produces green fruit whereas Aglaonema species produce red fruit. Also, Aglaodorum has a longer peduncle and produces only one whorl of flowers instead of many as in Aglaonema.Aglaodorum are found growing in tidal mudflats in Borneo, Sumatra, southern Indochina, and Peninsula Malaysia. It is usually found growing alongside of Cryptocoryne ciliata and Nypa fruticans. An interesting feature of the plant is that the seeds germinate before it drops from the plant. The seeds themselves tend to be quite large.

Burmese Coast mangroves

The Burmese or Myanmar Coast mangroves are an ecoregion in Burma, Malaysia, and Thailand where there were once thick forests of mangroves but today most has been cleared, resulting in loss of habitat for wildlife.

Central African mangroves

The Central African mangroves ecoregion consists of the largest area of mangrove swamp in Africa, located on the coasts of West Africa, mainly in Nigeria.

Indochina mangroves

The Indochina mangroves are a large mangrove ecoregion on the coasts of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia in Southeast Asia.

Itabashi Botanical Garden

The Itabashi Botanical Garden (東京都板橋区立熱帯環境植物館, Tōkyō-to Itabashi Kuritsu Nettai Kankyō Shokubutsukan, 1,000 m²) is an indoor botanical garden located at 8-29-2 Takashimadaira, Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan. It is open daily except Mondays; an admission fee is charged.

The garden is a greenhouse containing more than 300 species of Southeast Asian plants, with an aquarium of tropical fish, mangrove forest with Nypa fruticans, and other plants including Dipterocarpaceae, orchids, and rhododendrons.

Kaong palm vinegar

Kaong palm vinegar, also known as irok palm vinegar or arengga palm vinegar, is a traditional Filipino vinegar made from the sap of the kaong sugar palm (Arenga pinnata). It is one of the four main types of vinegars in the Philippines, along with coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, and nipa palm vinegar. It is usually sold under the generic label of "palm vinegar".

Meru Betiri National Park

Meru Betiri National Park is a national park in the province of East Java, Indonesia, extending over an area of 580 km2 of which a small part is marine (8.45 km2). The beaches of the park provide nesting grounds for endangered turtle species such as leatherback turtles, hawksbill turtles, green turtles, and olive ridley turtles.

Mugilogobius rambaiae

Mugilogobius rambaiae, commonly known as the Queen of Siam goby, is a species of freshwater goby from Sri Lanka and South-east Asia to New Guinea. It occurs in freshwater or in the very low salinities of inner estuaries, and also in areas where Nypa fruticans grows. This species moves up rivers in the rainy season.

Its species name rambaiae is name in honour of Queen Rambai Barni, who was the wife and Queen Consort of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) of Siam. It was first discovered in a khlong (canal) in Bangkok near the Chao Phraya Delta in 1945 by H.M. Smith.This species is popular as an ornamental fish. But it is rare.


NIPA, Nipa or nipah may refer to:

Shamim Ara Nipa, Bangladeshi dancer and choreographer

Nipa hut, a type of stilt house indigenous to the cultures of the Philippines

Nipah virus, a Henipavirus

Nipa palm vinegar

Nipa palm vinegar, also known as sukang sasa or sukang nipa, is a traditional Filipino vinegar made from the sap of the nipa palm (Nypa fruticans). It is one of the four main types of vinegars in the Philippines, along with coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, and kaong palm vinegar. It is usually sold under the generic label of "palm vinegar".Nipa palm vinegar is listed in the Ark of Taste international catalogue of endangered heritage foods by the Slow Food movement. Along with other traditional vinegars in the Philippines, it is threatened by the increasing use of industrially-produced vinegars.

Palm sugar

Palm sugar is a sweetener derived from any variety of palm tree. Palm sugar is sometimes qualified by the type of palm, as in coconut palm sugar. While sugars from different palms may have slightly different compositions, all are processed similarly and can be used interchangeably.

Palm vinegar

Palm vinegar or sugar palm vinegar refers to vinegar made from palm or sugar palm sap, they include

Coconut vinegar - a type of vinegar predominantly from the Philippines made from coconut water and coconut sap

Nipa palm vinegar - a type of vinegar from the Philippines made from Nypa fruticans sap

Kaong palm vinegar - a type of vinegar from the Philippines made from Arenga pinnata sap

Rhizophora racemosa

Rhizophora racemosa is a species of mangrove tree in the family Rhizophoraceae. It has a patchy distribution on the Pacific coast of Central and South America, occurs in places on the Atlantic coast of that continent, and has a more widespread range on the Atlantic coast of West Africa.

Rumpi Hills

The Rumpi hills are an undulating mountain range with its highest peak, Mount Rata about 1,800 m (5,900 ft) located between the villages of Dikome Balue and Mofako Balue, Ndian division in the Southwest region of Cameroon. The hills are situated at 4°50’N 9°07’E, cutting across four local councils, with the eastern slopes in Dikome Balue, southern slopes in Ekondo Titi, western slopes in Mundemba, and northern slopes in Toko local councils respectively. These hills are located about 80 km (50 mi) north of Mount Cameroon; about 50 km (31 mi) west of the Bakossi Mountains and some 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of the Korup National Park.The Rumpi hills are covered by more than 2,300 km2 (890 sq mi) of a combination of mid-altitude, coastal evergreen and drier northern semi-evergreen forests as well as other vegetation types. About 455 km2 (176 sq mi) of this forest forms what is known as the Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve (RHFR). Located in the equatorial forest zone of Cameroon, this area is very rich in plant biodiversity ranging from fungi to angiosperms.Notwithstanding this plant biodiversity, variations do occur in the distribution of the forest ecosystems in this area. This variation in the distribution of forest ecosystems, is due to the changing agricultural landscape especially along the southern slopes of these hills. Apart from oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) owned by the agro-industrial company, Pamol Plantations PLC, and sprouting smallholder plantations, other dominant tree species do exist. These include species such as

Other species include

as well as non-timber forest species such as

Additionally, many tropical montane mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species such as

are present.

Sunda Shelf mangroves

The Sunda Shelf mangroves ecoregion, in the mangrove biome, are on the coasts of the islands of Borneo and eastern Sumatra in Malaysia and Indonesia. They are home to the proboscis monkey.

As well as being an important habitat for terrestrial and marine wildlife mangroves preserve the shape of the coastline.

Tirathaba rufivena

Tirathaba rufivena, the coconut spike moth, greater coconut spike moth or oil palm bunch moth, is a moth of the family Pyralidae. It is found from south-east Asia to the Pacific islands, including Malaysia, the Cook Islands, the Philippines and the tropical region of Queensland, Australia. They are considered as a minor pest.

Toddy palm

Toddy palm is a common name for several species of palms used to produce palm wine, palm sugar and jaggery. Species so used and named include:

Arenga pinnata, the areng palm

Borassus flabellifer, the palmyra palm

Caryota, the fishtail palms

Cocos nucifera, the coconut

Nypa fruticans, the nipa palm

Taxon identifiers
Nypa fruticans

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